Quintessential Baton Rouge

The Capital City’s most beautiful sights aren’t just for tourists. A day of exploring our own town should include stops at a few must-see attractions. Topping the list is the mighty Mississippi River, visible from several excellent vantage points. Stroll atop the pedestrian-friendly levee, gaze down from the bluff at Southern University, or savor the view with a side of sushi at Tsunami in the Shaw Center. Before the end of 2012, “staycationers” will also be able to enjoy a picnic at the revamped Repentance Park on River Road.

You may have visited the “new” State Capitol with a busload of sweaty eighth-graders years ago, but Huey Long’s most conspicuous legacy is worth another look. Hearing more about the drama and intrigue that this 34-floor tower has seen over the past 80 years is as fascinating as watching any modern-day reality show. The sculptures in the building and on the gorgeous grounds also make this a hot spot for art enthusiasts, and the view from the top of the nation’s tallest state capitol is a photographer’s dream. 342-7317

As the story goes, Huey Long was so confident he would one day live in the White House that he built a replica in Baton Rouge. We all know how that story ends, but the Old Governor’s Mansion does bear a striking similarity to its D.C. cousin, making it a quirky destination for lovers of Louisiana history and architecture alike. Tours of the restored home offer glimpses of the gleaming marble staircase, the chandelier-jeweled East Ballroom and a library complete with secret doors. In Huey’s house, would you expect anything less? 387-2464 oldgovernorsmansion.org

As Tiger Stadium is one of Baton Rouge’s most visible landmarks, a walking tour of the LSU campus makes a delightful conclusion to a day spent soaking up city sights. The Campus Tours office in Pleasant Hall can customize a jaunt around the campus with attractions to suit your interests, from a stop at the Greek Theatre (the band’s starting point before each football game) and a photo op at Mike’s cage to a “Tiger Bite”-flavored, purple-streaked ice cream cone at the AgCenter Dairy Store. 578-6908 lsu.edu